Parents who are homeschooling their kids are doing so for a number of reasons.
But like any educational environment, there are both advantages and disadvantages of homeschooling.
In this lesson, we will be looking at these advantages as well as the disadvantages involve to help you make the right decision.
ADVANTAGES OF HOMESCHOOLING
- Starting and finishing school earlier (or later) | If your child is a morning person, they can start schoolwork early, finish early, and enjoy the rest of their day. If your child is not a morning person, they don’t waste the first half of the morning cranky and struggling to wake up. Either way, your kids will learn how they operate best and can plan accordingly.
- More sleep | Studies show that elementary aged children need 10-11 hours of sleep per night, and teenagers operate best with 8-9 hours per night. When your kids wake up naturally, they will be more rested, which means better attitudes and better focus.
- Homeschool takes less time | Because they don’t have to wait in line for the restroom, wait for their classmates to finish their work before moving on, wait in line for lunch, etc. the same amount of learning and schoolwork just takes less time.
- Dress code | They can wear whatever is most comfortable and not worry about whether it’s ironed or the latest trends.
- Change of scenery | You can have school at home or you can change it up and do school at the library, at the beach, at a park, or anywhere else you want.
- Less pressure to conform | Your child can be himself. He doesn’t have to try to fit in with whatever is cool at school that week.
- Cheaper and more enjoyable vacations. Because you decide the schedule, you can save money and sanity by taking vacations during the off season instead of hitting the beach with a thousand other spring breakers.
- Peace of mind. Just because they are home doesn’t mean they are completely protected from everything bad that could happen, but chances are good that there will not be any bullying, smoking in the bathrooms, bomb threats, or school shootings.
- No early morning rush out the door. When you don’t have to feed and dress every person in your house before 8 am, it makes for a more relaxed atmosphere in the morning.
- Less sickness. Viruses, pinkeye, lice… the reality is that they are exposed to these things more when they are in a classroom with 25 other people all day long.
- Easier employment. When they are teenagers, they will have an easier time getting a job. Not only will they understand time management and self-management better than most of their peers, but they will also be available for more hours earlier in the day.
- Teaching your own beliefs and values. Same content, different viewpoint. For example, you can teach Biology from an Evolutionist or a Creationist viewpoint. There are materials for all of it. Also, you can teach about the birds and the bees when your child is ready for that topic, not just when they start 6th.
- You get to teach what matters most to you. There are certain required subjects, but whatever you want to teach on top of that is fair game. Do you really want your child to learn a second language? No need to wait for high school. The same is true for vocational skills, arts, home economics, and other programs that have to compete for funding.
- You can teach what matters to your kids. Sewing, welding, Spanish, any of it. Kids learn better if when they are interested and invested in a subject.
- Intentional social skills. Since they won’t be with 25 other kids their exact same age, they learn how to interact appropriately and respectfully with people of all ages. Also, their social circle can be more intentional. They will still get plenty of social interaction, but chances are it will be with people you already know and have common interests with, not just the random kid whose last name also starts with the letter L.
- You decide the overall schedule. This means the school calendar is based on your vacations, family gatherings, etc. Your family is central, rather than school or other activities. If dad or mom’s job is seasonal then you can work as well.
- You decide the day to day schedule. You can schedule doctor and dentist checkups midday, when it is less crowded and more convenient for you. Also, there is less stress when something unexpected comes up, like friends visiting, wedding, or family reunion.
- No more unexpected weather days changing your plans at the last minute. Whether it’s a snow day or a hurricane day, you can work through these or skip them without having to add them to the end of the school year later.
- You get to instill in your children educational philosophies you believe in. Whether you are a believer in Montessori inspired learning or Charlotte Mason or Classical Conversations… as your children’s teacher you can use what approach you are passionate about.
- Sick days are no big deal. You can flex with the needs of your family without having to keep up with missed assignments. Everything can pause and you can jump back in a few days later without lots of makeup work.
- You can teach at the right level. Kids who are academically gifted and kids who have special needs often have to go at the mainstream pace, which can be incredibly frustrating and often works against them.
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- Intentional breaks. You can take breaks when they make sense, not just based on a clock. Sometimes taking a walk around the block or coloring a picture is just what they need and you can all come back refocused.
- You can teach your kids how to learn, not just what to learn. Data changes. Pluto used to be a planet, then it wasn’t, then it was again, but this time as a dwarf planet. Especially with technology changing so quickly, if your kids know how to learn (how to ask good questions and where to find the answers), they will be better equipped than if they just memorize the facts for the test.
- Everything becomes an opportunity to learn. When school isn’t confined to eight specific hours in a specific place, neither is learning. Your kids will begin to see the world differently, asking questions along the way. You can also learn right along with your kids, if you want to. “Let’s look it up,” can become a common phrase in your house.
- You will learn so much about your kids. You will learn whether they are morning people or not, whether they learn best by reading or a more hands on approach, and how they handle academic successes and failures, just to name a few.
- You will learn so much about yourself. The kids won’t be the only people learning new facts, skills, and habits.
Read Also: What is Homeschooling?
- There is more time for fun learning. Building with LEGO, snuggling on the couch together with a good book, taking nature walks, doing puzzles, and playing board games are all actively engaging the mind and teaching skills that you can’t learn in books.
- There is more time for free play. Kids need unstructured time to just play.
- Your kids will learn how to be independent learners. This prepares them well for college, when professors will not hold their hand and walk them through every assignment. Universities are now recognizing this and many have admissions staff dedicated to recruiting homeschoolers.
- Your kids will learn about time management. It will not take them long to understand that if they focus on their schoolwork, they can have more time to do something else that might interest them more.
- You will all learn how to set and respect boundaries. Or you will die trying.
Read Also: Why Home Tuition?
- No more school lunches. Self-explanatory.
- No more long bus rides or waiting in long pick-up lines at the school. This means you won’t have to wake sleeping babies or get children up super early just to catch the bus.
- You don’t have to cut your afternoon in half to be home at 3 pm every day. Or, again, wake sleeping babies or toddlers.
- You can stay inside on cold, snowy mornings.
- You can go outside on beautiful, sunny mornings.
- No more paperwork. Permission slips, behavior charts, homework, and busy work sent home every single day can be enough to suffocate a mama. Homeschooling means no more forms to sign and return.
- No school uniforms.
- No school fundraisers.
- No more standardized testing. When you don’t have to teach for the test, if takes a ton of pressure off the teacher and the students. Some states may have testing as an option to track progress, but many states do not require this.
- No more homework. Do kids really need additional work after being in school for 7 hours a day? Maybe, but when you determine your own schedule they won’t.
- More time together. Specifically, more downtime together. Your time together will not just consist of getting ready for school, getting ready for dinner, and then getting ready for bedtime.
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- Extended family can help. Grandparents, aunts, and uncles can join in with their own expertise. If you have retired family members, they might love to help.
- You don’t miss the milestones. You can be there when your child reads her first word or aces the math test, instead of just hearing about it when she gets home.
- More opportunities for extracurricular activities. Since you are spending more time together during the day, it is easier to make space for Girl Scouts, gymnastics, baseball, etc. in the evenings without putting a strain on the entire family.
- Time often equals trust for kids. You might be surprised the things they will share with you as they are practicing their spelling words.
- More time to read together. You can read out loud together wherever your child goes to school, but there is just more time in the day for this when you homeschool.
- Your kids will learn life skills along the way. Because they are with you when you grocery shop, do laundry, and make meals, they will learn how to do that also, with very little work on your end. The more they learn, the more they will help.
- Your child may require fewer clothes as they are at home most of the day.
- The at home parent is able to complete daily tasks while a child does schoolwork, saving on food costs, and the need to have laundry sent out, yard care paid for, etc.
- The lack of peer pressure can reduce a child’s wants, thus reducing expenditures on the latest gadgets and styles.
Note: There is also the option of a part-time home-based job for the teaching parent.
DISADVANTAGES OF HOMESCHOOLING
- Financial cost. Public school is free. Textbooks are free. Some extracurricular activities are free. In some places, even breakfast and lunch are free. Having more people at home just costs more. There is more electricity to keep the temperature constant, more meals to fix, and more lights that are on. Not to mention the cost of the curriculum itself.
- Time cost. It takes time to pick curriculum, plan assignments, explain the material, answer questions, and generally be available through all of it.
- Sanity cost. If you are an introvert, having your kids around you all day can seem suffocating. If you are an extrovert, being confined to the home with your kids all day can seem draining.
- Running errands is a family affair. Unless your kids are old enough to stay home by themselves, they are always with you. Things like errands can take a lot longer and feel more complicated.
- Hobbies, lunch with friends, and all of that will take more work and more planning. Having an adult conversation with little kids around might require a babysitter or a restaurant with a play area.
- If you aren’t good at this, you will need to learn. Physical boundaries (this is my bedroom, not your personal science lab) and emotional boundaries (I need some downtime for the next hour) are necessary when you spend so much time together.
- Meal planning. More people in your family will be eating more meals in your house than if they were in school. Now you have to figure out what to make for three meals a day, not just one.
- Household chores. It can be much harder to keep your house clean, laundry done, etc. when the kids are home all the time. You can feel pulled in a thousand different directions.
- Pressure. You are now the one responsible for your children’s education, and this can feel like a huge weight at times. Figuring out what to teach (which subjects, which levels, and which curriculum) can feel overwhelming.
- Lack of training. Unless you have a background in education, you have less official training than public school teachers.
- Record keeping. While you don’t have a ton of paperwork to send back to the school every week, you do have to keep up with attendance, grades, and anything else required by your state. Your kids will need a transcript to apply for college and some states require proof of passing grades to get their driver’s license.
- You have to teach the subjects you don’t really like. Math, anyone?
- Socialization has to be more intentional. You will need to make an effort to keep your kids from just staying inside your own four walls all the time.
- Extracurricular activities require more effort. If there is no school play for your budding actress, you may need to look for a drama class. If there is no school band for your son who loves to play the drums, you may need to consider private lessons. This is especially true for sports, like basketball or soccer, that usually center around school teams.
- Tax-paid interventionists. School systems offer speech therapists, counselors, special education teachers and other professionals that can work with your kids for free and during school hours. If your kid has a speech delay or a learning disability, that can be hard to pass up.
- Lots of weird looks from strangers. Why is your clearly healthy kid in the grocery store with you at 11 am? You and your child will likely be misunderstood and maybe even judged.
- Everyone else’s opinions. Whether it is your Aunt Betsy or a complete stranger, when people hear that you homeschool, they will likely have a concern they want to mention.
- You are the teacher AND the mom. Sometimes kids listen better and even learn better from someone who isn’t related to them.
- School breaks are actual breaks. Until your kids get to high school, there is no school work over the summer. When it snows, you get the whole day off. Home and school have little overlap.
- Less time apart. As much as you might love your kids, the right amount of absence can make the heart grow fonder. We all need a break from each other every now and then.
- Kids don’t see their friends as much. Extroverted children may really miss being away from their friends and classmates, and it can be difficult to make time for this.
- You’ll have less time alone. If you are currently at home while kids are in school you’ll have a bit of down time. With all kids home all day you may struggle to find the time alone you need to maintain sanity.
- Kids may need tutors. If you aren’t able to teach them a subject as well as they need it (math, for example) you may have to hire a tutor which costs money.
Read Also: Why The HELL Must I Take English Lessons?
Home school learning is very different from public school.
Before you go any further in deciding whether or not to start homeschooling our kids.
You may want to first know about the good side as well as the bad side of homeschooling.
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